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beachpotato

Trouble with hearing the difference between vowels

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Hi -

I'm working with an adult who know her consonants but has trouble hearing the difference between vowels. For instance, if I ask her what letter makes the short i sound, she will often associate it with igloo but will mispronounce it as "eggloo" and tell me that e makes the i sound. I have tried switching her association words and it doesn't seem to help. I have worked with her for over a year and am almost at the point where I will have to tell her I cant help her. Please if you have any ideas I am all ears

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When is the last time she had full audiology testing (in a booth, not the screening at a primary care clinic)? Age-related hearing loss typically starts in the high frequencies and for what are known as the "front" vowels (short i, short e, short a, long e, & long a), someone who has loss >2000 Hz. may have trouble discriminating among them.

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What kind of things are you working with her on? Reading? Might she have dyslexia? My daughter with dyslexia has trouble with some specific vowel sounds, particularly i and e.

 

 

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I asked her and she said she's never had her hearing tested. She said she would talk to her mom about it. She's 39.

 

Yes, she has dyslexia and a mild developmental delay. We started off with a "regular" reading program, then switched to Wilson which did not work at all. Used Explode the Code which was better but it wasn't until Phonics Pathways that I realized that until we get this vowel thing worked out she's not going to get anywhere

Edited by beachpotato

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39 is not too young to be experiencing age-related hearing loss. Even many teens and 20somethings now have it. I think it's something like 1 in 6 will have clinical symptoms by age 19 due to the overuse of mp3 players and smartphone music apps. :sad:

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That would be pretty typical for dyslexia. She can have her hearing tested affordably at a university. Around here it's literally just $35. 

 

As far as the tutoring, you could go ahead and do the Barton pre-test. It doesn't take long, but it might let you know whether working memory and basic, foundational level awareness is holding her back. Students | Barton

 

And as far as helping her discriminate, you have several effective tools. One, you can learn about the vowel circle and bring in a program like LIPS. If she fails the Barton pretest, then she needs to do LIPS or the other program Barton recommends (FIS), in order to be ready for ANY reading program.

 

Your other really strong tool is much less expensive, and I really happen to like it a lot. Attention Good Listeners!: Jean Gilliam Degaetano, Kevin Newman: Amazon.com: Books  It's going to give minimal differences pairs, so that's pictures with words that are really, really similar, differing by just one letter. It will teach her ears to listen VERY CAREFULLY to discriminate the differences. The worksheets are really done, and I don't know why I couldn't find it on the publisher website. Maybe it's oop now? That would be a real shame, because it was just stellar. Helped my ds when he was at that stage. 

 

So with LIPS you're taking a very physical approach to it, learning how the vowel sounds are produced, feeling the jaw drop, looking at the mouth in the mirror, seeing the differences, feeling the differences. It can be a good path. With minimal difference pairs, you're using entirely auditory discrimination, but you're setting them up to succeed. If you were to get that workbook or something similar, I would expect to have to drill the pages daily for some time to get it to click. It's not like just a one time thing.

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Thanks everyone! I was feeling like I kept running into walls, but now there is hope! If you have more ideas, keep them coming.

 

Oh, and she does have a tiny bit of speech delay on certain words. At first I thought it was her accent, but I don't think so anymore.

Edited by beachpotato
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